Finally, there’s a restaurant for Cardinal fans in Los Angeles! At long last, Jeff Suppan has opened his restaurant/sports bar – Soup’s Grill – in Woodland Hills. A new story on mlb.com describes the long road to this opening, but I can report it was definitely worth the wait.
I work with a good friend of Jeff’s, and he told Jeff I would be coming in. Jeff came up to me as soon as he saw my Cardinal shirt and said hello. He was super-friendly and even gave me and my friends a personal tour of some of the memorabilia. You don’t need a connection to talk to Jeff, as he is spending quite a bit of off-season time at the restaurant and chatted with many of the guests. He buzzed around the restaurant, keeping tabs on the kitchen, the bar area, and even wiping off some tables.
Jeff showed us the displays of the 2006 National Championship and World Series Rings. He said some folks were shocked to see them, thinking he had cut his rings up for the sake of displaying them in the restaurant. No need to worry, he said, as they had all been given these displays along with the rings.
Jeff pointed out the dugout section which he said he wanted to recreate the feeling of actually being in a dugout for fans. The wall of the dugout is lined with autographed photos, many with funny quotes. Scott Rolen wrote, "Your cheesesteaks are better than your curveball."
Cheesesteaks are a specialty at Soup’s Grill, as Jeff’s parents hail from Philly. I tried one and thought it was really tasty and as good as any I’ve tried in Philly. The menu features all the sports bar favorites, lots of choices of sandwiches and salads. We split a piece of dulce de leche cheesecake for dessert which was also yummy.
St. Louisans will be glad to know Bud Light is on draft, along with Harp, Stella, Sierra Nevada and a few others. There’s also a wine list. The baseball wall behind the bar was definitely eye-catching.
The restaurant is packed with memorabilia from Jeff’s career, including lots of Cardinals stuff. Even the back stairway is fully decorated. Here we discovered an autographed picture of Jim Edmonds’ dramatic behind-the-back catch. Jim had inscribed, "Don’t hang this in the back. It’s probably my best ever." Haha, Jimmy, it is in the back, but the stairway should be more trafficked soon as plans call for a roof deck expansion.
Service was friendly and quick, even though the restaurant was at capacity when we arrived. If you have to wait for a table, you can sit on authentic seats from old Busch Stadium in front of the restaurant.
The Wall Street Journal did a story this week on comparing Spring Training ballparks, and Roger Dean Stadium was rated very favorably. They were particularly impressed with the Dean Dog, a jumbo hot dog. I’m annoyed because at two different games I tried to order a Dean Dog only to be told they were out of them. I guess I’ll never know that hog dog euphoria.
In Jupiter, we stayed at the Comfort Inn and Suites. It was okay, nothing special, really. It’s biggest selling point is its convenient location to the ballpark. Being in walking distance to a Starbuck’s was another plus, especially because the free breakfast was less-than-thrilling. Our experience there didn’t start well since we had reserved a non-smoking room via Orbitz only to be told at check-in that only smoking rooms were available. The rooms were fine, and high speed internet was great. The pool was tiny and reminded me of a Motel 6 pool. For $166/night, one hopes for a little more, but I guess that’s just high season pricing.
Here are some places we ate besides Roger Dean Stadium:
- The Blue Water Island Grill – This restaurant is pretty new and was formerly called Reef Grill. It had a festive, margaritaville type atmosphere and a big crowd. The walls were decorated with murals of caribbean islands. There’s a variety of fresh seafood on the menu, and I ordered seafood-stuffed mahi mahi which was pretty good. I liked my key lime martini better than the key lime pie (not tart enough).
- The Crab House – This place was decent, if a little too huge and impersonal-feeling for my taste. I think I would have enjoyed it more if we’d sat on the patio overlooking the inlet instead of indoors. Their main attraction is a seafood buffet, but we just ordered from the menu. Food was fine but not really memorable.
- Marc’s Chophouse – This was our best meal of trip. Its modest strip mall exterior hides a classy yet unpretentious eatery. My dad enjoyed his ginormous veal chop, and I liked my filet mignon. Service was smooth and friendly, and the chocolate cake was decadent.
- Casablanca Cafe – On the way to Ft Lauderdale airport, we stopped at this place for lunch. It had a nice, relaxing atmosphere with ocean views and breezes, and I really liked my lobster salad sandwich. They also had the best key lime pie of the trip.
I’ll also mention a couple of popular Jupiter restaurants that we missed – Nick’s Tomato Pie and Little Moir’s Food Shack. Both places had big lines out front on the 2 occasions we tried them, and we were too hungry to wait. Next time!
If you have Jupiter hotel and restaurant recommendations, please leave a comment.
My Dad and I ventured downtown on a peaceful, unseasonably
warm November Friday evening to dine at Mike Shannon’s. The reviews of Mike’s new place had been
glowing, so our expectations were high, and they were met. The place was not
busy, probably because we were eating a little later than the usual St. Louis dinner hour, and
because there was no sporting event to draw folks downtown. We were seated in the main dining room at a
window table that gave us a nice view of the downtown Christmas lights and of
ambling horse and buggies.
Looking around the room, I noticed the décor was much more
tasteful than most sports-themed restaurants. Some large photos of Mike Shannon and the Cardinals of his era hung on
the walls. Bats were racked rather
artistically in glass cases to create a partition. A beaded glass curtain separated off a
semi-private dining alcove. Tables had
white table clothes and plush chairs.
The restaurant has steaks and seafood in its name, and the
menu gives plenty of choices of both. Everything is a la carte, so bring your wallet. We found the food to be well worth the
money. We started with house salads,
which were decent if a little too reminiscent of The Pasta House. I like The Pasta House Salad, but it gets a
little repetitive. My dad ordered a filet mignon, and I ordered the New York strip
steak. Both were cooked to our liking,
and the filet, while it was the smaller cut, was so big my dad took some
home. We also shared a side order of
creamed spinach, which was delicious. I think creamed spinach is the perfect
accompaniment to a steak. The side
dishes may seem pricey (averaging $7-8), but they are big enough to share.
We were too stuffed for dessert, but the robust coffee
provided a nice finale. Our waiter was attentive and pleasant throughout the
I’d say the steaks were as good as any I’ve had in St. Louis (competition
would be Kreis’ and Carmine’s). We
agreed we’d definitely like to revisit Shannon’s.
If I could afford it, I’d eat there as often as Mike says “Ole Abner has done
it again.” To sum up my feelings on the
restaurant, I’ll borrow a catchphrase from Mike’s late, great broadcasting
partner: “That’s a winner!”
Have you eaten at Shannon’s?
Do you have other St. Louis
steakhouse recommendations? Post your comments.